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'Every Marine's a Rifleman,' Says Parris Island Instructor

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9, 2004 – "Every Marine's a rifleman," Chief Warrant Officer Timothy Soignet remarked Nov. 2 amid the pop and crack of scores of M-16 rifles firing at Chosin Range at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.

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"Every Marine's a rifleman," Chief Warrant Officer Timothy Soignet remarked Nov. 2 amid the pop and crack of scores of M-16 rifles firing at Chosin Range at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore
  

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That's why, the range officer said, nearly a fourth of the 12 weeks of recruit training given at Parris Island is devoted to rifle marksmanship.

Wearing a wide-brimmed campaign hat that shaded his eyes from the bright afternoon sun, Soignet noted that 300 recruits were assembled on the range that afternoon to practice firing their M-16s at 50 stationary targets mounted 200 yards away.

The targets, he noted, are pulled down and put back up by recruits, with the action supervised and synchronized by range officials for safety.

Safety is paramount on the rifle range, the warrant officer said, noting his primary marksmanship instructors keep an expert watch on goings on.

Soignet said range cadre also instruct recruits on the finer points of marksmanship, noting that improper sight alignment most often contributes to inaccurate shooting.

It's also important that the recruits learn to use gentle pressure on the rifle trigger to "squeeze off" their shots rather than to abruptly jerk back the trigger, which most often results in off-target strikes, Soignet explained.

Marksmanship instructors also examine the target strike patterns displayed in a data book carried by recruits, the warrant officer said.

The data book "is sort of like the 'bible of shooting' for the recruits," Soignet said. Recruits use the books to improve on their shooting.

"They can reflect back at the end of the day" and work on their mistakes, he said.

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Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.

Click photo for screen-resolution imageMarine Chief Warrant Officer Timothy Soignet looks at target strikes displayed in a data book Nov. 2 at Chosin Range at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageMarine Recruit Marquis Collins reaches back for a fresh 10- round magazine during qualifying practice with his M-16 rifle at Chosin Range at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore  
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